Lead Operator Pilot Plant

Job description

More sustainable production processes, shift to alternative raw materials, less waste and higher efficiency: these are the challenges industry and society are facing.

VITO develops innovative separation and conversion technologies to meet these challenges in the field of sustainable chemistry.

Within VITO's sustainable chemistry team, we have focused on the use of alternative raw materials to make sustainable chemicals.

In this context, Vito has built a pilot plant. The next step is to use this pilot plant to scale up the technology and produce bio-based aromatics on a multi-kg scale.

This position fits in the start-up of a spin-off, from which the full exploitation of the pilot unit will eventually be carried out, and allows Vito to be a frontrunner in the commercialisation of sustainable, bio-based chemicals.

For the new Pilot Plant, VITO is looking for a chemical processing operator who wants to take on the challenge of starting up, optimising and further developing a new and unique process. The technology, process and safety standards are similar to those in the traditional chemical industry.
As an operator you are primarily responsible for the start-up of the pilot plant whereby you are responsible for preparing, executing and monitoring the activities.

Due to the innovative character, you will work together with the pilot plant manager, the local engineering team and your colleagues from the research team at VITO to find solutions for technological or process challenges that come up.
Once the pilot plant is fully operational, you will be responsible for the smooth processing on the installations and the further optimisation of the process.

During the start-up you will work in daytime shifts and later on you will join a shift system.

Job requirements

  • You have a Bachelor's degree or in a chemical field, or are equivalent through experience.
  • You have previous experience in a chemical process environment. Experience with the implementation of new process installations in the chemical industry is a plus.
  • You have experience in chemistry/petrochemistry, specifically with high pressure reactors
  • You want to be a frontrunner in the transition from a fossil-based to a bio-based chemical industry.
  • You have a hands-on mentality; you are proactive and you intervene at abnormal observations.
  • You are flexible and stress resistant. Unexpected situations do not scare you.
  • You have analytical and problem-solving skills
  • You work conscientiously according to procedures and regulations.
  • You are prepared to work in a shift system.
  • You are fluent in Dutch and English.
  • Commitment and a sense of responsibility are not foreign to you
  • You are a pragmatic team player and know how to share your enthusiasm with your colleagues;

Tasks and responsibilities:

  • You monitor and execute processes. You are responsible for process validation.
  • All processes are carried out according to relevant procedures (SOPs and work instructions);
  • You monitor the processes via computerised systems and manual actions and adjust the processes in function of samples, problems, etc.
  • You suggest improvements based on the identified problems and current processes;
  • You work on accurate documentation and processing in logbooks;
  • Together with the team you take care of the necessary processing of process data to identify influences of process parameters on the yield and properties of the end product;
  • You are responsible for the maintenance of the pilot installation as described in the system manuals (e.g. leak tests, seals, material check);
  • You ensure correct management of raw materials and waste flows:
  • You ensure that work is done safely at all times in accordance with the proposed HSE (Health, Safety & Environment) procedures.
  • Entry control of raw materials (solvents, catalyst, ...) and analysis of reaction products


  • An attractive salary package supplemented with extra-legal benefits such as allowances, insurances and a modular holiday package.
  • A great deal of freedom and flexibility in your job, allowing you to achieve an attractive work-life balance.
  • Innovation is our core value, we give our employees the opportunity to train themselves and stay up-to-date within their field of expertise, and we expect them to.